American & US Airways Proposed Merger And Frequent Flier Programs

by John Ollila on April 9, 2013

American Airlines & US Airways are currently in the process of getting the US government approval for the proposed merger and this is expected to come through sometime in the late autumn.

american-airlines-us-airways

Yesterday, LoyaltyLobby reader left the following question about the miles and status he/she has with both programs.

american-airlines-us-airways-question

Here’s my prediction what is going to happen with these programs based on what happened with Northwest & Delta and later with Continental & United.

American Airlines is the “surviving” brand and the AAdvantage is going to be the program going forward. This we know for sure as it has been communicated by the airlines in question.

Likely time line:

- Few months after the merger has been approved, you can link your American Airlines AAdvantage and US Airways Dividend Miles accounts, transfer miles between them and have matching status with each one of them. This should happen by the end of 2013.

- It took United & Continental more than a year before the frequent flier accounts were merged to one. It is likely that American and US would do this in late 2014 or early 2015.

- The miles from linked accounts are merged and the elite qualifying miles are added up.

- It is unclear how American will handle the miles coming from the US’ program and how they will calculate them towards the million miles program. Does US count lifetime miles?

- After the merger is approved, US Airways and Star Alliance will announce a time line for the airline to be removed from the alliance. Usually this is at least 6 months and with the recent TAM announcement about 12 months.

Conclusion

All the miles and status will be safe during and after the merger. As the American’s program is the surviving one, the lifetime program is safe. Of course, there can be changes to the Gold or Platinum benefits at later date that are the benefits of the one or two million miler status.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.lasater1 Brian Lasater

    I received the Barclay US Air card in Feb in anticipation of the merger. How long should I keep it before I cancel, and how long till I sign up for it again so that I can obtain the sign up bonus?

    • http://loyaltylobby.com/ John O.

      I have not covered CC’s here on LL but might start doing in the future. I am not sure if the US Bank allows you to earn multiple sign up bonuses. Eventually the product will go away due to AA’s close relationship with Citi.

  • Love2Travel

    Continuing your predictions, will Star Alliance Silver and Gold earned on US Airways transfer to oneworld Ruby or Sapphire?

    • http://loyaltylobby.com/ John O.

      US Silver = AA Gold = Oneworld Ruby

      US Gold & Platinum = AA Platinum = Oneworld Sapphire

      US Chairman = AA EXP = Oneworld Emerald

  • KevininRI

    Do you think USAirways will join One World before the merger of the frequent flyer program is complete (similar to how Continental joined Star Alliance before the United merger was complete)?

    • http://loyaltylobby.com/ John O.

      Continental was member of Star Alliance long before the merger with UA was on the table. I would imagine that you will get the same status with US as you have with AA and that the airlines will be on different alliances for some time.

      • KevininRI

        I was thinking more in terms of a status match, for a United flyer who has already used his (most likely) “once in a lifetime” status match to AA last year, but the route structure for AA alone was not enough to warrant giving up on United just yet. But with the combined AA/US route structure this may change that. So I was thinking it might make sense to try to go for a status match with US after they leave Star Alliance but before the AA/US frequent flyer programs are combined.

        • http://loyaltylobby.com/ John O.

          To my knowledge US hasn’t done straight status matches for a while but rather offered paid “challenges”.

  • Frank D.

    This has me in a slight panic. I have been saving my US Airways miles forever and have about 230,000 miles. I have been contemplating using them for a RT business class on Star Alliance from PHL to Auckland, NZ but haven’t had the vacation days from work accumulated yet. Do I need to book something now or will I be safe to try and book say in October of 2014 or 2015? Thanks in advance for your opinion.

    • http://loyaltylobby.com/ John O.

      You can likely be able to book until the end of this year and maybe bit longer. You can book about a year in advance, so 2014 likely but 2015 is not.

  • Dr. D

    What does this mean for the sharing of airline clubs between US Airways and United?

    • http://loyaltylobby.com/ John O.

      Once the US leaves the Star Alliance, you can no longer access US clubs based on the Star Alliance lounge access rules.

  • Dr. D

    Thanks…I was afraid I’d lose my club reciprocity….

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